Nittanyville: Roughing it for Dear Old State

This is no ordinary campground.

Penn State junior Darian Somers greets a visitor to Nittanyville Thursday afternoon.

Penn State junior Darian Somers greets a visitor to Nittanyville Thursday afternoon.

There’s a grounds crew that monitors trash pickups. High-profile guests—the trumpet section from the Penn State Blue Band, the Penn State cheerleaders, coaches from several Penn State teams—give advance notice that they’ll be stopping by. Food deliveries—pizzas, doughnuts, cookies—are regular occurrences.

This is Nittanyville, a patch of concrete at the base of Beaver Stadium that has been home most of this week to 812 Penn State students camping out in the days leading up to this weekend’s football game against Ohio State.

We interrupted Darian Somers late Thursday afternoon as he was painting a flag to show his support for Akeel Lynch, the Nittany Lions’ running back who hails from Canada. Darian usually waves a Canadian flag at games to make the running back feel right at home in Happy Valley. Given the Nittany Lions’ opponent this week—Ohio State, with its scarlet letters—Darian is going to keep the Canadian flag under wraps (“since we’re playing Ohio State this week, that would be kind of awkward”). Instead, Darien was painting a blue maple leaf on a white sheet to show Penn State’s true colors.

Nittanyville 2

Darian Somers, a Penn State junior and the public relations officers for Nittanyville, is right at home at the temporary camp site.

We asked Darian, a junior from Altoona majoring in print journalism who serves as Nittanyville’s public relations officer, to name five things that people might be surprised to know about Nittanyville. Here’s his list:

1. Class matters: “A lot of people think we never go to class. They see a tent community, and they saw it’s just a bunch of students who only care about football. That’s not true. We have some pretty smart people here who care about their schoolwork. I studied for two exams and wrote two papers while I was here this week so we do go to class, we do work here.”

2. Happy campers: “We have Internet out here. We have Wi-Fi. We have bathrooms. We don’t have showers, though. We have almost all of the amenities of home. The Wi-Fi allows us to do homework. Plus, on Thursday nights, we’ll watch Thursday Night Football.”

Nittanyville 3

Nittanyville campers Katelyn Maltais and Derek Reigel, both sophomores from Clearfield, Pa., are ready for whatever the weather brings at Nittanyville this week.

3. Weather or not: “We’re probably not right in the head. We camp through just about anything. Technically, we have to shut down when there’s thunder and lightning or when the temperature goes below 32 degrees but other than that we adjust. As long as we’re allowed to camp out here, we’re out here.”

4. It takes a village: “Not all of us are die-hard fans, but we all do it for the same reason. I’ve been going to games all of my life, there are people who have only been to a couple of games throughout their entire lives, and there are people who only come out here to do this just so they can say they did Nittanyville. Not all of us could tell you every single thing about every player, which is OK. There’s nothing wrong with that.”

5. Room and board: “The biggest tent at Nittanyville doesn’t belong to the organization’s officers. Actually, the officers have two of the smaller tents. We don’t have to have the biggest, greatest camping technology. As long as we have a place to put a cot, we’re good.”

Want to learn more about Nittanyville? Go to

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What does a day in the life of Penn State look like?#PSU24 Poster Finalest We’re hoping you can help us tell that story to the world.

Beginning at 7:32 a.m. EDT (sunrise) on Thursday, the University is showcasing 24 hours in the life of Penn State. Using the hashtag #psu24, help us capture the Penn State experience — including future Penn Staters like you!

Share your photos, videos, and messages on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Vine and use the hashtag #psu24 to have them displayed on

While you’re at it, follow Undergraduate Admissions on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat (username: psuadmissions) to keep in touch with us throughout the application process and see what we’re up to on campus.

We’ll see you on social media!

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SAT Registration Deadline is Approaching!

SAT TestOne of the application requirements for all first-year students–domestic and international–is the SAT or ACT. Many of you have already sent us your scores to complete your application, but there is still time to get in one more examination prior to our preferred filing date of November 30. (Note: This filing date is for U.S. students only.)

The registration deadline for the November 8, 2014 SAT exam is this Thursday, October 9. If you sign up to take this SAT, you can have your scores sent directly to Penn State (use code #2660), and they will arrive prior to November 30. If the score from the November test is better than any previous exam results we received, we will use it for our evaluation. If not, we will use whichever previous exam had the overall highest score. Remember, Penn State does not superscore, but we use the highest total from one single test date.

Visit the College Board website to register for the November 8 SAT.

Best of luck to any test takers out there–we look forward to getting your scores!

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Fall Teams Off to a Successful Start

Mens Cross CountryCheering on the Nittany Lions is one of the best parts of the fall in State College … and there is no shortage of successful teams to support! Our student-athletes are off to a great start this fall – here is the rundown of their performances:

Men’s and Women’s Cross Country
Both teams have seen national rankings early in the season. As of September 30, the women are still ranked 30th, and the men are just outside of the Top 30. They are set to compete in the Penn State National this weekend.

Womens Field HockeyWomen’s Field Hockey
Currently 10-2, the field hockey team is ranked 9th in the nation and has beaten many ranked opponents. After two shutouts over the weekend, they have the week off to prepare for conference foe, Maryland.

The football team is off to a solid start, with a 4-1 record going into the Michigan game this weekend. In Coach Franklin’s first season, the team has been able to win some close games – and Beaver Stadium has been full of support on Saturdays.

Men’s Soccer
The team is currently ranked 4th in the nation, with a 10-0-1 overall record and a 4-0 record in the Big Ten. This is the best start in school history, with the Nittany Lions outscoring opponents 21-3 and recording 9 shutouts.

Women’s Soccer
Undefeated in the Big Ten, the soccer team is 12-1 overall and currently ranked 7th in the nation. With their only loss to North Carolina in double overtime, the Lions are looking to remain undefeated in the Big Ten with 6 conference games remaining.

Womens Soccer
Women’s Volleyball
A perennial powerhouse, the volleyball team is currently ranked third in the nation and boasts an overall record of 15-2. Losing only to Stanford and No. 8 Nebraska, the Lions have over half the season left to play on the way to defending their national title.

With so many national rankings and outstanding individual performances, Penn State’s fall sports are off to a stellar start. They make it easy to be a fan in Happy Valley – go Lions!

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Feeling right at home: Alumni, students ready for Penn State Homecoming 2014

Homecoming Parade 1

When chicken wire and tissue paper are in demand around State College, it can only mean one thing: It’s time for Penn State Homecoming.

All that wire and paper is put to good use by dozens of student organizations creating elaborate floats that are among the highlights of the Homecoming Parade, just one of many events that are part of this past Penn State tradition. Since 1920, Penn State has welcomed alumni back to campus to join with current students and the entire University community in this celebration. While Friday’s parade and Saturday’s football game against Northwestern are two of the more visible Homecoming events, there are dozens of activities and programs held throughout the year that lead up to this week.

Here are 10 things you should know about this year’s Homecoming celebration:

1. Carrying on: “Honor the Purpose, Carry the Pride” is the theme for Homecoming 2014. You can get a behind-the-scenes look at Homecoming preparations, including the theme selection, in this Penn State News story.

2. ‘Morning’ glory: The 2014 Grand Marshal is Lara Spencer, co-anchor of “Good Morning America” and a 1991 Penn State graduate. Spencer showed her true colors on a recent broadcast of the morning talk show when she sported a Penn State sweatshirt and kicked a field goal in her bare feet during a segment on the start of the college football season.

3. Over the moon: Michael Paul, the director of Penn State’s Lunar Lion mission which is working to launch and land a spacecraft on the moon, is this year’s Honorary Grand Marshal. Paul is a space systems engineer at Penn State’s Applied Research Laboratory and is leading a team of students, faculty, and staff who are helping a group of Penn Staters reach for the stars.

4. ‘Pomp’ and circumstance: Google “pomping” and “penn state,” and more than 1,500 hits pop (or should we say “pomp”?) up. (Which, for the record, is more than that other Big Ten schools we tried. Just an observation.) Pomping is what you do when you twist tissue paper into chicken wire in parade float construction. You can see the results of hundreds of hours of pomping on display during this year’s parade, which steps off at 6 p.m. on Curtin Road by Pennypacker Hall. The parade route, information on the livestream, and details about the line-up can be found on the Homecoming website.

5. More than a game: While the Nittany Lions hope to continue their winning streak this weekend at Beaver Stadium, this week’s Homecoming schedule includes an ice cream social, a talent show, and a carnival.

6. Family affair: More than 631,000 alumni make up the Penn State family. If all of them came to Homecoming, they would fill Beaver Stadium (107,282 capacity) – and Michigan Stadium (109,901) and Ohio Stadium (104,944) and the University of Tennessee’s Neyland Stadium (102,455) and LSU’s Tiger Stadium (102,321) AND the Crimson Tide’s Bryant-Denny Stadium (101,821).

7. People power: Nearly 400 student volunteers are involved in planning and hosting Homecoming-related events throughout the year.

8. Here’s the scoop: The flavor of the week at Berkey Creamery is (wait for it) … Alumni Swirl. In honor of the throngs of returning Penn Staters, the Creamery is featuring a signature blue-white flavor combination. This concoction blends blueberry swirl into vanilla ice cream studded with Swiss mocha chips. Our taste test: This one does alumni proud.

9. Hail to the lion: The annual Guard the Lion Shrine event is sponsored from 9 to 11 p.m. Friday. The event includes entertainment, food, and other activities, including Penn State ROTC volunteers standing guard to protect the shrine from any Northwestern Wildcats who may be foolish enough to cross its path.

10. Walking on sunshine: As of this writing (Wednesday, September 24), blue skies and sunshine are in the forecast for this weekend’s festivities. With Saturday’s projected high projected to be a summery 80 degrees, we’re going to give some credit to Penn State’s meteorology department for that!

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Penn State Visits You

The hallways of the Undergraduate Admissions Office are a little quieter at this time of year.

Many of our staff are out of the office and on the road presenting admissions information in cities around the country. While we can’t bring the full excitement of Penn State to a hotel meeting room, we certainly try our best!

Students and families at an accepted student program in Hanover, New Jersey.

Students and families at an information session in Hanover, New Jersey.

One great thing about these programs is that members from the local chapter of the Penn State Alumni Association are typically on hand to share their Penn State stories and talk about services that the alumni chapter can provide, including scholarships and (in some cases) transportation to and from campus for breaks.

You’ll also have the opportunity to meet the Penn State counselor who is assigned to your area. That person can serve as your point of contact throughout the admissions process.

Visit our website to see a listing of the cities we’ll be visiting and to register for the events. We hope to see you this fall!

– Jenna

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Color Run invades University Park

The race known as the “Happiest 5k on the Planet” was held over the weekend and turned the streets of campus into a rainbow of colors filled with thousands of runners.

With Penn State recently named one of the fittest colleges in the country, it’s no surprise that the second annual Color Run drew nearly 10,000 participants. Proceeds from the race benefited Penn State Homecoming, which is coming up in just two short weeks.

The Color Run website already reports that the race will be back in Happy Valley again next year. So, those of you applying to Penn State for next fall will have the chance to participate!

The Color Run really is best described in photos. Here are just a few captured by The Daily Collegian, Penn State’s student newspaper:

Color_run_1 Color_Run_2 Color_Run_3

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Chat with us this fall!

Undergraduate Admissions invites you to join us for an online chat this fall. Chats are a great way to connect with current Penn State students to learn more about classes, majors, student life, and more. Admissions counselors will also be available to answer questions about the application process.

There’s no limit to the number of chats you can attend. Please visit the chats page on our website for a listing of our scheduled chat events. See you online!

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Few application changes

So, the application is live, but are there any updates you need to know about before you start working on it?

The short answer is: no, not really. By and large the application for 2015 closely mirrors the one for 2014.

The most significACT_SATant change is in our requirements for international students. Starting with applications for summer or fall 2015, all international students are required to submit an SAT or ACT score. This requirement is distinct from the English Language Proficiency requirement, though the SAT or ACT can be used to meet both.

If other questions come up, please feel free to reach out to us and we’ll do our best to help. Good luck with your application!

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The Penn State Application is ready – are you?

If so, you can apply now!

Take the first step in joining the over 21,000 students University-wide that accepted their Penn State offer for summer/fall 2014. We are excited to have such great students at our campuses across the state, and we hope you will join them in 2015!

Not sure where to get started? Visit the admissions website to create a MyPennState profile and access the application. (If you already have a MyPennState profile, you can just login). Here are some other things to keep in mind when applying to Penn State:

  • Penn State has its own application – we do not use the Common Application.
  • Review the Admissions Requirements, Dates & Deadlines, and Steps to Apply on the website for details about your application and the admissions process.
  • You can save your work and return to the application at a later time (helpful for the essay and activities portions).
  • The online application is just the first part of the process – be sure to send us all of the required materials to complete your application.

Best of luck as you consider your college choices and complete all of your applications – we hope that Penn State is one of them! If you have any questions about Penn State or the application, be sure to contact us.

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